*Please note that these are low resolution maps - Sanparks/MTO will issue you with large full size maps once you book. Make sure you have the map at least a week before you start or arrange with Sanparks/MTO to have one at the start for you.
GENERAL HIKING TIPS
You must be reasonably fit. (You know, instead of your secretary fetching your coffee from the machine, go get it yourself, for a month or so!) Seriously, you will enjoy these tough multiday hikes over rugged terrain a lot more if you have done a bit of preperation before. (For the novice, some treadmill or spinning a month or two prior will prepare you a bit, and the beauty around you will take care of the rest) These Trails are for people who really enjoy hiking and feeling the tired legs at the end of each glorious day.
You need to be conditioned enough to carry all your provisions for 5 or more days. Don’t be tempted to “pop it into your pack, just in case”! My experience is that the packs range between 12kg and 27 kg. (This could increase dramatically for the “winger and winer” when someone pops a rock into the pack, just to be mean!)
Remembering that the bulk of this weight is probably taken up on the provisions for the 1st 2 or 3 days. ie; vacuum packed meats, for that braai around the camp fire, something to drink to ease the pain in the weary legs etc.
Keep it simple and although it is so nice to have some treats, it is, after all a hike and you can’t do what the caravan family do, take home away with you!
Your FOOTWARE should not be brand new and not tested. It is worth having good hiking boots with some support to the ankles. (although some hikers prefer more running type shoes). Spare dry socks help while the boots are drying off a bit in front of the fire.
Walking stick/cane/or just a handy stick picked up would be a good thing too. It offers good steady support when you are crossing tricky terrain and your pack it upsetting your balance. (A sprained ankle is no fun!)
Each member should have a phone number for the ranger on duty for if they have to take an escape route, and are separated from the rest of the party.
Please take care of your valuables (camera etc) and make sure they are in the cabin with you at night. Sanparks are very aware of your security (and take measures to keep your belongings safe) but rather be safe than sorry.
Energy food is good on these hiking trails. If you have a cold front move in, the cold, coupled with the tough terrain will use up your energy, and by the latter stages of the hike you will start feeling it. There are endless products on the market that are suitable. Instant noodles, soups, rice products with tasty sources, and a large variety of high energy cereals like Pronutro, and mueslis which are light to carry. “Smash” is always popular.
I have found most hikers carry vacuum packed steak etc for the first couple of days, and if you plan well you could have steak each day, so long as it is vacuum packed and frozen through when you set off. Pack it so other items in your pack help to insulate it until you use it.
There is a good ready mixed bread product which is lovely as a biscuit type meal when braaied over the coals. (You can flavour this with anything you like. Garlic, herbs etc.)
Biltong is popular. Sliced into soups and cooked with rice adds flavor, protein and of course salt.